Niger wards off military coup, arrests suspects

Niger's government says it foiled military coup, has arrested at least four senior military officers who planned to take control in Niger

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Issoufou Mahamadou, President of Niger.

Updated Dec 18, 2015

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou announced on Thursday that his government warded off a military coup attempt on Tuesday.

During his televised speech, Issoufou said at least four high-level military officers were arrested by security forces on the suspicion of planning to seize power in the country.

“The government has thwarted an unfortunate attempt at destabilisation,” Issoufou said.

“The objective was to overthrow a democratically elected regime. They planned to use the firepower of air force assets."

The family members of the arrested senior military officials have also been detained, President Issoufou said in his announcement.

General Souleymane Salou, the former military chief of staff and Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Haoua, head of the air force base in the capital Niamey are among the arrested officials.

A relative of General Salou stated, "It's said they are suspected of wanting to carry out subversive activities, but nothing is clear for the moment."

Issoufou, who had previously been elected as prime minister in the 1990s, has served as the president of the West African country since 2011, taking office one year after the military coup that overthrew former President Tandja Mamadou.

Political tension is very high in the country before the approaching presidential election, which will be held on February 21.

Issoufou seems to be a lock to win the election, but opposition accuses him of manipulating the country.

TRTWorld and agencies